Consumer Payment Card News

Card Crams

It’s bad enough getting a telemarketing call from your credit card company just as you sit down to a nice, hot, steak dinner. However what really drives you nuts is being charged for products and services offered by the telemarketers, that you did not knowingly agree to purchase. This week Citibank signed an agreement with the attorneys general in 27 states to protect its customers from alleged unfair and deceptive practices by telemarketing firms that solicited business using Citibank’s customer lists and encrypted credit card numbers. The agreement settles a multi-state, two-year investigation led by Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan and attorneys general in New York, California and Vermont. Under the agreement, Citibank admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay $1.6 million to the states. Since the mid-1990s, Citibank customers complained that deceptive pitches by the bank’s partners resulted in consumers being charged for unwanted products and services. In some cases, telemarketers promoted free trial offers on dental plans or credit card loss protection service. When the trial period ended, consumers did not understand that the companies would charge their credit card for continued use unless the consumers canceled during the trial period. Such telemarketing tactics are widespread among credit card issuers. The best advice is to tell telemarketers “NO” and ask them which part of “NO” they do not understand.

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